Guess which metals jewellery makers use? Most people will rightly mention gold and silver as some of the metals used. A few others will even include platinum in the list. But very few people would come up with pewter. Although many jewellery makers and buyers prefer pewter made jewellery for various key reasons, people might be unable to identify this important alloy when they come across it. Throughout the globe, pewter is indeed the fourth-most used metal in jewellery – silver baby cups are common, but pewter ones are as well, and just as beautiful.
In some cases, jewellery makers polish pewter so that it resembles platinum, silver or other white metals. Otherwise, they may darken or antique its surface to achieve a better-bronzed look. Most of the time, they utilise pewter as a base and complement it by adding a silver or gold plating. Since pewter is present in very many types of pieces, it is at times overlooked as a very important metal in jewellery making.
Reasons Why Pewter is a Crucial Metal in Jewellery Making
Pewter has been in existence for centuries as a metal alloy produced by various societies. Evidence of this can be found in collections and museums that link back to Ancient Romans, Egyptians and Celts. Maybe, because the alloy is extremely soft for weapons or tools, no actual Pewter Age occurred as was the case with the Iron and Bronze Age. But people most likely learned to produce pewter at around the same age that they discovered how to make bronze.
While bronze is mostly comprised of copper, tin dominates in pewter. This means bronze is stronger. On the other hand, pewter has other characteristics that make it appealing for designing jewellery. In the majority of ancient periods, the valuable alloy was heavily used as a common metal to create various items. Some pewter items included candlesticks, jewellery, tableware and eating utensils.
These are some of the reasons why pewter was a valuable metal alloy and is still a common choice up to now:
Cheap: Since pewter is largely made from tin, normally mixed with traces of antimony, copper or additional harder metals, this alloy is cheaper than platinum, silver and gold. Pewter jewellery is mainly valued for its aesthetic appeal and workmanship rather than the metal’s cost. In comparison to other precious metals, its relatively lower price makes it more popular.
Versatility: Tin is quite soft so pewter also adopts this property, although, the other metals added to it harden it a bit. Still, its pliable nature affords artisans the ability to forge unique and sophisticated designs from this alloy. Items made from pewter are known for their craftsmanship and artistic merit.
Longevity: Normally, the softness means that owners will need to exercise some caution with their pewter items. But, the good thing is owners are free from worrying that pewter will tarnish as silver and others do.
What is Lead-Free Pewter?
Historically, pewter was hardened using lead. Because lead is known to be toxic, people would be careful to reduce their exposure to any vintage pewter. Belmont, using our NEY Metals brand, distributes lead-free, harmless pewter alloys for designs that might be in contact with food or the skin. For sure, this covers utensils, tableware and jewellery. In addition to tin, pewter alloys might have small amounts of antimony, silver, copper, and/or bismuth. Jewellery makers can choose the kind of pewter alloy based on its appearance, hardness or their preferred moulding or casting approaches.